Monthly Archives: March 2013

Beef in Spicy Tomato Gravy


1 Cup Canned diced tomatoes
4   cloves garlic,minced
1 ½   T chopped fresh ginger root
1/3 cups Plain lowfat yogurt
2 T Vegetable oil
2 lbs lean beef round, cut into 1 ½  inch cubes
2 cups finely chopped onions
4   black whole cardamom pods
8 whole cloves
2 t turmeric
½ t red pepper, or to taste
1 t salt
1 ½  t ground roasted cumin seed (roast over medium heat, shaking until fragrant)
2 T chopped fresh cilantro


1.       Preheat oven to 325 F

2.       Put tomatoes, garlic, chopped ginger, and yogurt in food processor, and run the machine until the ingredients are reduced to a fine smooth puree. Set aside.

3.       Heat 1 T oil in a large frying pan over high heat until very hot. Pat dry the meat pieces and add to the pan. Brown them, turning and tossing the pieces for 3-5 minutes. (The frying pan should be large enough to accommodate the pieces in one layer without overlapping. The best way to brown them is in batches.) Transfer the meat to a heavy-bottomed casserole.

4.       Add the remaining 1 T oil to frying pan, along with the onions. Reduce heat to a medium-high, and fry until the onions turn caramel brown (about 20 minutes), stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add cardamom , cloves, turmeric, red pepper, and salt, and fry for an additional minute. Add the tomato yogurt puree, and continue frying the mixture until it reduces to a thick paste and the oil begins to separate from the paste (about 5 minutes) Turn off heat.

5.       Add this paste to the meat in the casserole. Add 3 cups of hot water to the frying pan. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan to release the pieces clinging to it, and pour into the casserole. Stir the meat to distribute the spices and liquid evenly. Place the casserole over medium-high heat and bring the contents to a boil. Place a sheet of foil over the top of the casserole, and cover tightly with the lid.

6.       Bake in the middle level of the oven for 2 hours. Check and stir meat every 30 minutes to ensure it won’t burn. Turn off the oven. Let the casserole remain in the oven 15 minutes longer.

7.       Take the casserole out of the oven, check for salt, and serve sprinkled with ground roasted cumin seeds and chopped cilantro leaves.

Nutrition:  Makes 6 servings. 300 calories per serving; 11 g fat, 35 g protein, 8 g Carbs, .5 g fiber. 

So, why?                                   

  • With lean beef, tomatoes and indian spices this is a healthy way to eat beef – that is, with loads of antioxidants.


  • Serve over brown rice to add fiber content.   Serve with a side salad.
  • Will consider experimenting with additional vegetables – not authentic but more nutritional – I’m thinking to add bell peppers with the onions and/or maybe add peas near the end.

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Filed under Entrees, Red Meat

Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers

¾ tsp Salt, divided
¾ tsp Fennel seeds, crushed
½ tsp Black pepper, divided
¼ tsp Garlic powder
¼ tsp Dried oregano
4 6 oz. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 T Olive oil, divided
2 Cups Red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 Cup Yellow or orange bell peppers, thinly sliced
¼ Cup Shallots, thinly sliced
1 ½ tsp Fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Cup Chicken broth
1 T Balsamic vinegar


1.       Preheat oven to 450

2.       Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine ½  tsp salt, fennel seeds, ¼ tsp black pepper, garlic powder, and oregano. Brush chicken with 1 ½ tsp oil; sprinkle spice rub over chicken. Add 1 ½ tsp oil to pan. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over; cook 1 minute. Arrange chicken in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until done.

3.       Heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, shallots, and rosemary; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Stir in vinegar, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve bell pepper mixture over chicken.

This recipe is slightly adapted from Cooking Light.

Nutrition:  Makes 4 servings. 282 calories per serving; 11 g fat, 35 g protein, 9 g Carbs, 2 g fiber. 

So, why?                                   

  •        The chicken is a good source of lean protein
  •        Bell peppers are a great source of vitamin C and beta-carotene, lycopene and zeaxathin (antioxidants that are good for fighting inflammation)

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Filed under Chicken, Entrees

Chicken Chili

This recipe was given to me by my mother, who won her church chili cook-off with it.  I have made some modifications to lighten it up but my family didn’t notice.  Next year I will double this which will allow me to freeze 3 meals worth to spread over the winter. 

1 2 pound rotisserie chicken, diced (or 3 cups diced, cooked chicken)
1 T olive oil
2 Medium Onions, chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
8 Oz Can chopped green chilies
1 ½ tsp EACH : cumin, oregano
¼ tsp EACH: ground cloves, crushed red pepper flakes
2  15 Oz cans white northern beans, rinsed and drained
6 Cups chicken broth
1 Cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 Cup 2% reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 Cup Salsa

1.       Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. 

2.       Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, chilies, cumin, oregano, cloves and crushed red pepper, and sauté 2 minutes. Add beans and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer a few minutes. 

3.       Add chicken and 1 cup of Jack cheese and stir until cheese melts.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4.       Serve with salsa and remaining cheese.

Nutrition:  Makes 8 servings. 270 calories per serving; 11 g fat, 35 g protein, 13.5 g Carbs, 6.5 g fiber.  You can reduce the calories and fat a little by using cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast meat, but I’m not sure its worth the tradeoff in time.

So, why?                                   

  •         Makes a filling, satisfying main meal.
  •         The chicken and beans are both good sources of lean protein
  •         The beans also add a good portion of fiber and resistant starch which is good for weight loss

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Filed under Chicken, Entrees